Metro Wines Blogs

Metro Wines Asheville, NC

What's in Processed Wine?

In a New York Times article titled "The Pleasures of Processed Wine," author Bianca Bosker offers an opinion on Big Box Wine which discusses additives and the possibility of labeling wines much like any other prepared food. 

Excert from the article:

Maybe they’d want purplish wines with blackberry aromas, or low-alcohol wines in a pink shade. Whatever it was, there was no feature winemakers couldn’t engineer.

Wine too full of astringent, mouth-puckering tannins? Add Ovo-Pure (powdered egg whites), isinglass (fish bladder granulate) or gelatin. Not tannic enough? Replace $1,000 oak barrels with stainless steel and a bag of oak chips (toasted for flavor), tank planks (oak staves), oak dust (what it sounds like) or a few drops of liquid oak tannin (pick between “mocha” and “vanilla”). Cut acidity with calcium carbonate. Crank it up with tartaric acid. When it’s all over, wines still missing that something special can get a dose of Mega Purple, a grape-juice concentrate that has been called a “magic potion” for its ability to deepen color and fruit flavors.

More than 60 additives can legally be added to wine, and aside from the preservative sulfur dioxide, winemakers aren’t required to disclose any of them.

Entire article HERE.

Response from The Asheville School of Wine @MetroWines:

We’d like to add a couple of thoughts to the article “The Pleasures of Processed Wine” in the March 19, 2017 issue of Sunday Review in the New York Times. 

You don’t need to buy a wine laced with chemicals to enjoy a tasty wine at a low cost. There are plenty of wines around the consumers’ average purchase price of $9.89 that will please wine “newbies,” as referenced in the article, that don’t contain the 60+ additives legally allowed in wine, at least in our wine shop. The article mentioned a few of the less alarming ones like fish bladders and mega purple. But the article did not reference the synthetic chemicals like plastics and pesticides that are also used.

One simple solution is to require wine labels to disclose all ingredients just like labels on any other processed food or beverage. The information will be there to inform all who wish to read it.

We encourage you to shop additive free, quality wines @MetroWines. And we encourage you to ask questions about the contents of the bottle. Hey, it's your body!

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Tricky Rabbit Wine Tasting

News Release: Saturday, March 18th, 2017

About: Tricky Rabbit Wine Tasting @MetroWines
Please join The Asheville School of Wine as we host the wildly popular Tricky Rabbit line of wines from Chile.  Both white and red wines from Tricky Rabbit will be "on the taste" and "on the house" on Thursday, March 30th from 5 to 6:30.
"Tricky Rabbit" Wines have staked a claim in the wine world by mixing varietals that are not often partnered such as their Sauvignon Blanc & Carmenere blend!
"Tricky Rabbit" Wines to be poured at the tasting include blends of Sauvignon Blanc & Carmenere, Pinot Noir & Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah and Chardonnay & Viognier. Expect special event pricing!
"Tricky Rabbit" Wines are made by InVina, a state of the art winery in the Maule Valley in Chile. The grapes are from vineyards in four different microclimates. InVina received the "Sustainability Certificate" in 2013 and is committed to an environmentally conscious use of the land and to packaging that has minimal impact on the environment.
More about "Tricky Rabbit" Wines from InVina:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
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Cascina Barisel Favorita


All about it from Piedmont Wine Imports.

Cascina Barisel

Who: Franco Penna

Where: Canelli

What grapes: Dolcetto, Barbera, Favorita, Moscato

How many bottles: 35,000

Key facts: No chemical fertilizers or insecticides are used on this five-hectare family estate. A south facing three-hectare calcium-rich monopole sits immediately behind his cellar and is the source of most of Barisel’s grapes.

Barisel Vineyard

Franco Penna is a patient man. His winery is remarkably hard to find, hiding in plain sight among segmented roads bearing the same name and non-contiguous house numbers. His house number is 30, number 31 is at least a kilometer away. Across a main road. Guarded by a not-so-friendly dog. Canelli is rich in wineries, numerous enough that innocent pedestrians are ignorant of this five-hectare family estate at the beginning of a south-facing hillside more or less in the outskirts of town. I found my way to the wrong cellar a couple times before ultimately winding up the drive to meet our waiting winemaker.

Franco has been a grower since 1985. Penna’s father bought the house in 1965 and grew grapes on the land. His brother grows some of the fruit Cascina Barisel utilizes: all his fruit comes from the family’s vines. In conversation about the property, it is clear that Penna is enjoying himself. He has perspective and a sense of humor, but this lightheartedness does not signify a lack of dedication or purpose. He has the charisma of a man 100% in control of his life’s work.

“I do everything. I work in the vineyard, in the cellar, I sell the wine….” In the vineyard Penna works without chemical fertilizers or insecticides. Franco says his parents taught him to respect nature. “I work mechanically, not with chemicals.” In the cellar, temperature-controlled fermentation tanks keep the estate’s flavor profile one of decidedly fresh fruit aromas.

The Dolcetto from Barisel is a low-key masterpiece, subtle and fine.

Foravia is wild herb and pithy citrus; wine from Piemonte on a seaside holiday. Put it on your table next to (Favorita/Vermentino) from Liguria or Sardinia and Foravia reveals talent for understatement. It is measured and brimming with local character.

Recently Franco built a new cellar with old bricks under his house. You can see the roots of his vines coming through the marl from five meters above. In this very clean, cool underground space he has a corner devoted to a natural spring, one of many local water sources that these roots are seeking. Their struggle is the origin of good wine in this good terroir. Franco Penna’s single-handed careful and constant work completes their labor.

SPRING 2014 Update

I know Franco Penna well. He lacks the self-righteousness of natural farmers, and he has a good sense of humor. He’s not an outwardly ideological guy. In his cellar while tasting no-sulfur natural yeast Dolcetto, in the middle of 15 hilly acres of scrupulously tended chemical-free vines, I think I see the core identity of Franco. He is action not talk. His talk is lively and gently irreverent, untethered to the professionalism of Cascina Barisel. He wants people to taste his wines because they taste good, and that is how he presents them. He is quick to discuss the wines of other estates that we taste together, and he seems to enjoy interaction with other winemakers. He has opinions. He is very generous. The estate’s cellar is very well maintained. Many additional hours of labor clearly go on at Barisel to create even-keel, understated and exceptionally affordable wines. I scan down a sheet of available quantities: there isn’t much wine! Franco prices his wine to sell “I have to make a living with wine, this is not a rich man’s hobby for me,” and to drink. They are seamless and perfectly representative daily wines, clean, direct and good.

The sun may be shining but rainwater is still draining down the hills of Astigiana. Light chalky clay soils stick to my fancy leather shoes and stain one of the three pairs of pants I possess. So much for packing light. I don’t go to the top of Franco’s hill, I stop mid-slope among stunted mean old Moscato vines, sick of sticking and sliding and wondering how much better the view could really get. A truck is delivering bottles, it’s time for me to get out of Franco’s way and out onto some little road. We’re meeting up again soon for pizza anyway.

Cascina Barisel Dolcetto Monferrato DOC

  Organic. Calcareous marl soils. This wine is harvested from the middle of Cascina Barisel’s south-facing slope. Penna does vigorous cluster pruning to create intensity in the finished wine. The fruit is picked in two passes, to harvest it at optimal maturity. 100% de-stemmed, and fermented in stainless steel. The wine is bottled in spring, with minimal sulfur (<20mg/l.)

Cascina Barisel Moscato d’Asti Canelli DOCG  Organic. Calcareous marl soils. 50-year-old vines. Very gently pressed, fermented in pressurized, temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.

Organic: Organic
Soil type: South sloping calcareous marl.
Elevation: 300-350m
Grapes: 50 year old Moscato vines.
Method of fermentation: Gently pressed and fermented in pressurized, temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.
Bottles made: 10,000
Cascina Barisel Perdesne’ Rosato

It tastes a little mysterious. Dark, mellow, this is a full-bodied flavorful rose that does not punch you in the mouth (or nose) with aggressive acidity, or tropical fruit-bowl aromatics. In its own way, Perdesne is subtle. The roundness and amiability of Perdesne makes it very food versatile. Made with dolcetto, The name, Perdesne, means “for lunch” in Piedmontese dialect.

Cascina Barisel no sulfur added Dolcetto Monferrato DOC I’m agnostic when it comes to the natural wine community no-sulfur vs. low-sulfur debate. Tasted side-by-side in Franco Penna’s cellar, this no-sulfur cuvee seemed more complete, complex, exotic… the low-sulfur version (which I also import) was more bright and direct, its appeal tied to refreshing red fruit. I like Dolcetto with duck (if you have time to prepare duck) but it really suits a lot of autumn flavors: acorn squash, black lentils, farro, chard. Turkey, too.

Cascina Barisel Bianco “Foravia” Monferrato DOC 
Organic: Organic
Soil type: South sloping calcareous marl/limestone
Elevation: 300-350m
Grapes: Favorita
Method of fermentation: Fermented in Stainless steel tanks.
Bottles made: 3,000
Cascina Barisel Barbera “Listoria” d’Asti DOCG
Organic: Organic
Soil type: South sloping calcareous marl/ limestone
Elevation: 300-350m
Grapes: 50-year-old Barbera vines
Method of fermentation:
Bottles made: 5,000
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Anita Riley Book Signing TODAY

News Release: IMMEDIATE

Anita Riley in Shop TODAY from 3:30 to 4pm
Anita Riley, formerly of MetroWines!, stops in shop TODAY from 3:30 to 4pm to sign copies of her new book: "BREWING AMBITION: Recipes and Stories from the Women of North Carolina Craft Beer."
Anita Riley is Certified Beer Server Cicerone. She studied Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation at Rockingham Community College and ABTech. After starting the Beer Program @MetroWines, Anita joined Mystery Brewing Company ( as the Cellar Operator in 2015. In addition to writing her first book, Anita Riley still contributes to local publications and regularly posts on "Brewing UP a Storm" for MetroWines (
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Meet The Treasure Hunter!

News Release: Saturday, March 11th, 2017

About: Treasure Hunter Wine Tasting with The Treasure Hunter!
Please join The Asheville School of Wine as we welcome Hunter Vogel, The Treasure Hunter, for a wine tasting "on the house" of his discoveries on Wednesday, April 5th from 5 to 6:30 @MetroWines. Parking is, as always, free, close and easy.
What's it all about? Hunter Vogel says: "Treasure Hunter wines are micro-lot and one time releases.  Each lot represents the best of it's appellation, varietal and the winemakers who have crafted them.  They are the crème de la crème of terroir driven wine excellence but get them quick before your next favorite wine is gone forever!"
Follow The Treasure Hunter on facebook here:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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